Rick Scott Admits He Postponed an Inmate's Execution So Pam Bondi Could Throw a Party
In September of 2013, we brought you the story of Attorney General Pam Bondi asking Gov. Rick Scott to postpone the execution of an inmate on Florida's death row so she could throw herself a fundraiser.
Scott honored Bondi's request, and the execution of Marshall Lee Gore was stayed so she could have her shindig.
During Tuesday night's third debate between Scott and Charlie Crist, the former governor brought up the story and directly asked Scott if he did indeed stay Gore's execution so Bondi can have her fundraiser. Scott admitted he did, though he gave a nonanswer in explaining it.
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Gore had been on death row for the 1988 raping, strangling, and stabbing of 30-year-old Robyn Novick. Also for killing 19-year-old Susan Roark months later.
Scott went ahead and processed Bondi's request, although he said at the time that he didn't know why Bondi wanted the execution postponed.
During Tuesday night's debate, the two candidates were asked about the responsibility that comes with having to sign death warrants for inmates sentenced to be executed.
Specifically, Crist was asked a follow up question when he suggested that Scott doesn't take the duty seriously.
"Just this past year an execution here in Florida was delayed by the governor so that the attorney general could go forward and have a political fundraiser," Crist said. "Now to me and my way of thinking, that doesn't sound like a somebody's taking that solemn duty as seriously as they should."
Scott tried to respond to Crist, but the former governor interrupted by asking, "Well, did the attorney general ask you to delay it?"
A frustrated Scott asked Crist not to interrupt.
Evading the issue, Scott then went on to explain the solemn act of being a governor who has to decide whether an inmate should be put to death or not.
When asked to respond to Scott, Crist said, "He won't answer the question," before turning to face Scott and repeating his question.
"Did the attorney general ask you to delay the execution so that she could go forward and have a political fundraiser?"
Scott replied, "See... it was... she asked me to delay it because it didn't work on the dates she thought it was going to be on."
"Did you know that it was for a political fundraiser?" asked Crist.
"Charlie, she apologized," a flustered Scott answered. "She apologized. What would you like her to do? She apologized."
Interestingly, Scott was also attending a fundraiser for his own reelection campaign in Broward on the night Gore was supposed to have been executed.
Bondi did indeed admit that her choice of having an execution postponed and a fundraiser for her campaign was poorly timed, while touting her unblemished record of having people put to death in Florida.
"As a prosecutor, there was nothing more important than seeing justice done, especially when it came to the unconscionable act of murder. I personally put two people on death row and, as Attorney General, have already participated in eight executions since I took office, a role I take very seriously," Bondi told the Tampa Bay Times at the time.
A couple of weeks later, she apologized, telling reporters, "I should not have requested that the execution be moved. I should not have moved it. I'm sorry. And it will not happen again."
She then said, "Next question."
But reporters pressed her on the matter.
"I made a mistake," she repeated. "I'm sorry. It won't happen again. I asked that a killer's date be changed, and he was given 20 more days. It won't happen again. I'm sorry."
Gore's execution postponement reportedly cost the Department of Corrections around $1,000. He was eventually put to death by lethal injection on October 1, 2013.
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